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(“Ryan North’s Jokes Explained Explained” Explained) Explained

Wednesday, 7 January, 2009 | Posted in News by David Morgan-Mar

It seems we’ve confused a few readers with our explanation of Ryan North’s Jokes Explained Explained. Thankfully another reader, xyzzy, has kindly written an explanation for the benefit of any such confused people:

(“Ryan North’s Jokes Explained Explained” Explained) Explained

“Ryan North’s Jokes Explained Explained” Explained

Monday, 5 January, 2009 | Posted in News by David Morgan-Mar

It seems some readers didn’t quite understand what we were trying to do with Ryan North’s Jokes Explained Explained. So we’ve now provided an explanation:

“Ryan North’s Jokes Explained Explained” Explained

LiveJournal feeds for comics

Wednesday, 3 December, 2008 | Posted in Lightning Made of Owls, News, Square Root of Minus Garfield by The Hyperstig

Feeds for Lightning Made of Owls and Square Root of Minus Garfield are now available on LiveJournal. If you’re a LiveJournal user and like seeing comics in your friends list, simply friend these:

RSS feeds for new comics

Monday, 24 November, 2008 | Posted in Lightning Made of Owls, News, Square Root of Minus Garfield by The Hyperstig

More of the tedious gruntwork for guess who? I toil late into the night to bring you:

And what thanks do I get? I’m lucky if they buy me lunch at the mezzacotta Café.

mezzacotta Café

Sunday, 23 November, 2008 | Posted in Cafe, Ideas, News by Andrew Coker

Our frenzy of releasing new features on mezzacotta continues! We are pleased to present the mezzacotta Café, serving a variety of snacks and light refreshments. Our chef is known for his remarkable approach to cooking, in which ingredients are assembled into a myriad of new combinations and styles. But he can be a bit unpredictable sometimes, and his taste is, well… unique.

Comic cast added

Thursday, 6 November, 2008 | Posted in Comic, News by The Hyperstig

It’s about time we had a cast page for the comic (the original mezzacotta comic, not the new one announced yesterday), so I added one.

User-Created Webcomic

Wednesday, 5 November, 2008 | Posted in Comic, Ideas, News by David Morgan-Mar

We’re going to start a brand new webcomic. Anyone who wants to help us can create the strips. You can create the strips.

We tried this once before, with Infinity on 30 Credits a Day. It was an experiment, and unfortunately it hasn’t taken off as well as we would have liked. But we’ve learnt some very valuable lessons about the idea, and we’re ready to give it another go.

The problem with Infinity on 30 Credits a Day is that it has a story. It has continuity. We had to plan around it, writers had to take it into account, and – although the story we adopted is a fairly open-ended framework – it kind of gets in the way. It makes it hard for the people who want to contribute to get all the information they need at any given point. We tried to implement voting schemes and user accounts and job queues and all sorts of fancy stuff. It means administrative overheads for us and requires time and organisation that ultimately we don’t have. It’s simply too darn complicated.

So here’s the plan. We make a gag-a-day strip with no real story to it. We don’t try to make The Order of the Stick. We try to make Dilbert. The former has an ongoing story that you follow across multiple strips. The latter has one-off situations that you laugh at, and the next day something different happens. Or maybe a tiny story arc that has a joke a day and takes 2 or 3 days to resolve.

So, if you want to make a comic, you use our characters, you stick them in whatever situation you want, and you make a gag at the end of the strip. No story, no restrictions*. Send the completed comic to us, and we’ll stick it in the queue and publish it.

If you always wanted to make a webcomic, but didn’t think you could commit to a regular update schedule, or didn’t know how to get publicity or readership, or how to build a website, this is your chance. All you have to do is make a strip and send it to us. We’ll do the rest.

Now for the fiddly bits. We’re not publishing strips for this new comic right away. We don’t have any characters yet. We don’t even have a title. You guessed it: We want your input!

So if you’re interested, here’s the deal. Go over to the forums discussion area for this idea and start talking about what sort of characters we want, and what name we can call this comic. We are not going to do anything as organised as voting. We’ll just let you discuss the possibilities for a while, maybe come to some sort of consensus on a few ideas or options, and then we’ll pick the ones we like best and use those.

Here are our ideas so far (you should stick to these unless you have a good argument and can convince us otherwise):

  • The comic will have no specific genre. The same characters might actually exist across multiple genres. So in one comic Fred and Sue are office workers; in the next strip they are space explorers in the far future. As long as each strip has a gag, it will work. Have a look at Arthur, King of Time and Space for how this can work. Of course if everyone wants to make office worker gags, that’s fine too.
  • We want maybe half a dozen regular characters to start with.
  • Each regular character should initially be specified quite vaguely. Example: Fred is a cynical office worker. (What we don’t want: Fred is a hotshot programmer with a grudge against Microsoft, he used to work as a pizza delivery boy until he met Sue and the two started dating, she convinced him to finish college, he got into roleplaying games and likes to ride to work on a unicycle, he wears T-shirts with anti-DRM logos and is always playing loud rock music on his iPod.) Characters will develop little personality quirks over time as people write them into strips, so we don’t want to build any in at the beginning. Also, the characters should not be funny in themselves. The funny should come from the situations that the strip writers put them in. If we make a character funny through personality traits, it limits the situations that writers can put them in.
  • Characters will however need physical traits or distinctive dress so they can be identified across multiple different art styles. Each character should be visually distinctive enough that you will be able to recognise them every time someone different draws/paints/renders/photographs them.
  • When the strip itself begins, writers will create strips using the shared characters. You can use any art style you like – drawing, 3D rendering, stick figures, photography – as long as the characters are recognisable.
  • * Basic common sense restrictions apply to make the result suitable for a PG audience. No nudity, swearing, etc. Our word is final on what we won’t publish on our site.
  • All submissions to this project will be released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 licence. If you submit a strip to us, you agree to it being released under this licence. Your name will of course be attached as the author credit (unless you prefer to be anonymous). We will not claim authorship of your work, nor will we make any profit from it.
  • Once we launch, you send us completed strips. This means you have to do the art and the dialogue. Or you could collaborate with someone if you can draw but can’t write jokes, or vice versa. But we’re not going to moderate the collaborations. You could use the forums to find a collaborator.

We think that’s it for now. We’ll put up a separate information page and FAQ soon. But for now, tell us your character ideas on the forums!

Content, content, content!

Thursday, 23 October, 2008 | Posted in News by David Morgan-Mar

We’ve been busy adding some new pages to show off some of our latest crazy ideas! Check out Can’t We All Just Get Along? And adding to our earlier web enablement of parallel universe generation, you can now collapse the universe’s wavefunction, or choose your own preferred interpretation of quantum mechanics. And hey, we found some cool, but under-appreciated stuff written some time ago by Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics fame, and thought we’d bring it to light with Ryan North’s Jokes Explained Explained. Oh, and if you have any more reasons why particular people should All Just Get Along, tell us on the forums!

Quick Singles

Sunday, 19 October, 2008 | Posted in Ideas, News by David Morgan-Mar

Some of the ideas we come up with can be implemented pretty quickly with only a page or two of content. So we’ve created a new Quick Singles area to index them, and posted the first of these little ideas: Create a Universe.

Speed 2: Cruise Control

Wednesday, 15 October, 2008 | Posted in Comic, News by The Hyperstig

I’ve done some database and code optimisations. Comics that have been viewed by anyone and the Best Bakes page should now be loading considerably faster. (Comics that nobody has yet looked at still take a little while to get ready.)